Last season’s league Shield Winner Goa start their Indian Football League 2020-21 campaign with Sunil Chhetri’s Bengaluru at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Fatorda, on Sunday.
Match Timings: Nov 22, 7:30 PM
Two semifinalists of season 2019-20, Goa and Bengaluru kick start their new campaign with new signings. Juan Ferrando would have pressure to replicated the glory of Sergio Lobera. In last season, Goa lost just three matches out of 18 league-stage matches and topped the table. In the semifinal, they lost to Chennai with an aggregate margin of 6-5. Goa is hosting the entire season of Indian Football League 2020-21, and Juan Ferrando’s men would take this as an advantage.
Goa has only defeated Bengaluru once, and that was recorded in the first meeting between these two sides. In 2019-20, Bengaluru won the home game 2-1, courtesy of Chhetri’s brace, and held Goa for a 1-1 draw in an away fixture. Out of seven outings, Bengaluru defeated Goa five times. The last meeting ended in a draw as Coro equalised with a late penalty for Goa in reply to Udanta Singh’s opening strike.
Edu Bedia and Lenny Rodrigues can form a strong midfield for Goa, following Seriton Fernandes at right-back. Mandar Rao Dessai left for Mumbai, so we expect Saviour Gama at left-back, followed by Ivan Gonzalez and James Donachie at center-back. Igor Angulo has the biog responsibility as the striker who joined the side after an excellent show in the Polish league last season.
Meanwhile, Bangalore has the edge over Goa with the better head-to-head record. The Blues also had a similar story like Goa as Bengalore lost in the semifinals to eventual winner Kolkata with an aggregate margin of 3-2, courtesy of David Williams’ brace in the second leg.
In 2019–20, Bengaluru also became the first team to keep 11 clean sheets, and they are known as the most adequate unit in defense. They also went on a 17-match unbeaten run at home. Bengaluru signed Ajith Kumar at the left-back slot with Ashique Kuruniyan. They also got Pratik Chaudhari from Mumbai, and he will be crucial in the center of defense with Fran Gonzalez.
In pre-season friendly, Hyderbad held them for a 1-1 draw, and Mumbai defeated them 1-0. Goa’s pre-season friendly was much better as they defeated last season’s runner-up Chennai 3-0 and edged past Jamshedpur 3-2. In the previous outing, Hyderabad defeated them 4-2, but it won’t disturb Goa’s performance on Sunday.
Possible Lineups & Current Form
Mohammad Nawaz; S Fernandes, Gonzalez, Donachie, Gama; Bedia, Rodrigues; Doungel, Brandon Fernandes, Mendoza; Angulo
Pre-season friendly form – W W L
Gurpreet Singh; Bheke, Fran Gonzalez, Juanan Gonzalez, Kuruniyan; Paartalu, Wangjam; Udanta, Cleiton Silva, Sunil Chhetri; Kristian Opseth
Pre-season friendly form – D L
2 goals & 7 assists in Indian Football League 2019-20
12 goals in Ekstraklasa 2019-20
9 goals in Indian Football League 2019-20
Gurpreet Singh Sandhu
11 clean-sheets in Indian Football League 2019-20